Binge drinking is a serious problem in the UK, costing billions each year. A new test has been created by scientists which claims to be able to predict a teenager’s binge drinking behaviour in the future. The team looked at areas such as brain chemistry, genetics and personality traits to determine whether an individual would binge drink in the future.
Dr Robert Whelan from University College Dublin said: “There is no one really big thing. It’s a bunch of little things adding up to give you this prediction.”
“There are three main areas: brain activity and brain structure; personality, so seeking out new things to do increases the risk, whereas conscious tends to make you less likely to binge-drink; and then life events, such as a boyfriend or girlfriend, is highly predictive.”
Its developers claim a 70% accuracy but the costs involved may put it out of reach for local authorities. It uses expensive brain scans that can cost several thousands of pounds. Hugh Perry, chairman of the Medical Research Council neurosciences and mental health board, said more research in the field could lead to improved public policy.